Ukraine to deepen ties with Kenya through art

Ukraine Ambassador to Kenya Andriy Pravednyk (c) take a photo with Ukrainian vocalists Andrii Hutsuliak(Left)and Jeffery Kenny(Right) after performing on stage on March 2023 at Goethe Institut. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Ukraine is seeking to deepen ties with Kenya through art and cultural exchange, Ukraine Ambassador to Kenya Andriy Pravednyk has said.

He spoke on Thursday at Goethe Institut in Nairobi after the launch of the mural known as 'Grains of Culture' under The Wall project.

"To strengthen our ties with Kenya, we will organise cultural exchanges after the war with Kenyan artists in painting and musicians since I see a huge potential in cultural exchanges between our two countries. We will not limit ourselves to cultural exchanges but also scholarships to young talented Kenyan students," Pravednyk said.

The Mural, which is a project by Ukrainian Institute and Agency for Cultural Development (Port) is the fifth one in Africa. Similar ones are in Vienna, Berlin, Marseille and Brussels.

In Kenya, the mural is located on Phoenix House opposite 680 Hotel and was done in six days in collaboration with Kenyan and Ukraine street artists.

The artists included Nikita Kravtsov and Andrii Kovtuun from Ukraine and Moha Graphix, Paul Kelemba (Maddo) and Eliamin Ink from Kenya. The artists also painted matatus with messages condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"The mural signifies the friendship between Ukraine and Kenya and we are really happy to note that our relationship between the two nations is great. We see Kenya as our most important partner in the East African region, having an embassy here since 2004 and supporting us in the ongoing war," said Pravednyk.

Kenya was among other 15 countries including Ghana and Gabon to cast a historic vote to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year at the United Nations Security Council.

The event was attended by Portugal, Malta, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia, Chile and Belgium ambassadors among other countries.

Pravednyk blamed the Russian attack on Ukraine for the destruction of critical infrastructure and cultural objects like cinemas, museums and galleries.

"Currently, almost 600 different cultural objects have been either fully destroyed or seriously damaged. A significant number of Ukrainian museums that were all allocated on temporarily occupied areas of my country have been looted and brought to Russia," said Pravednyk.

The mural, he said signifies friendship between Ukraine and Kenya and will add up for better understanding of ordinary Kenyans of what Ukrainians are fighting for.

"I consider the mural project in Nairobi and Africa as the first step towards establishing sisterhood relations between my capital city of Kyiv and Nairobi.

"It aims to show that Ukraine has much in common with Kenya and this project reflects creative diversity of Ukraine and Kenya and therefore an evidence of a closer relationship between the two nations," he added.

The ambassador said the two countries will also complete a number of treaties, with plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on space agency, which was postponed last year April.

He further revealed that on October 18, a ship full of 25,000 metric tonnes of grains will be docking at Mombasa port.

"We have a plan to deliver five million tonnes of grains to African countries until the end of this year," he said.

Nairobi City ward MCA Mwaniki Kwenya, who represented Nairobi City County Governor Johnson Sakaja, said The Mural project was born out of the desire to promote cultural exchange and celebrate diversity.

"It is through projects like these that we can break down cultural barriers, build lasting relationships and promote understanding among different communities," said Kwenya.

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